City on the isthmus of a peninsula in the middle of the S coast of the Black Sea, W of the mouth of the Halys, the earliest colony that Miletos founded in the Pontos (Xen., An. 6.1.15; Diod. 14.31.2; Strab. 12.545). Eusebios (Chron. 2.88-89) records that Sinope was twice colonized, in 756 and 630 B.C., but 8th c. Greek colonization in the Pontos is unlikely. The oldest find is an aryballos of Middle Corinthian type of the beginning of the 6th c. or ca. 600 B.C. at the earliest, suggesting that the second date, 630 B.C., may be accepted. Excavations in other Greek cities of the Pontos, such as Olbia (Borysthenes), Istria, and Apollonia Pontica, have yielded nothing earlier than the last quarter of the 7th c., and it has also been pointed out that the Greeks were first in a position to colonize the Black Sea about 700, when they began to build triremes.
The excavations also yielded Phrygian vases of the late type, dating from the second quarter of the 6th c., indicating that when the Greeks came to Sinope they found native peoples (Paphlagonians?) at least partly mixed with Phrygians. There is, however, no evidence of Assyrian colonization (Ps. Skymnos 94ff) or Kimmerian occupation (Hdt. 4.12).
A large number of 6th-4th c. Greek vases from the necropolis are now in the museums of Ankara, Kastamonu, and Sinop, and much of the Achaemenid metalwork on the black market seems to have come from there. Late archaic gravestones have also been found, and the remains of a Hellenistic temple with altar and surrounding colonnades.
Sinope flourished as the port of a caravan route (Hdt. 1.72; 2.34) between the Euphrates and the Black Sea from the 6th to the 4th c., and issued its own coinage as early as the 6th c. Kotyora, Kerasos, and Trapezos were its colonies, and among its exports was red sulfate of arsenic from Cappadocia, called Sinopic red earth (*mi/ltos *sinwpikh/). It escaped Persian domination until the early 4th c., and in 183 B.C. it was captured by Pharnakes I and became capital of the Pontic kingdom. It was conquered by Lucullus in 70 B.C., and Julius Caesar established a Roman colony, Colonia Julia Felix, in 47. Mithradates Eupator was born and buried here, and it was the birthplace of Diogenes, of Diphilos, poet and actor of the New Attic comedy, and of the historian Baton. (E. AKURGAL)
Info: Princeton Encyclopedia
(Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites, from Perseus Project)